Rebel Treasure forty fourth post

Rebel Treasure forty fourth post

INT THE UNLOADING AREA
Ensconced in the shadows far from their tent prison, Mrs. Slidell and Abigail check out two parked Humvees.

MRS. SLIDELL
Must be some kind of alert.

ABIGAIL
I think it might be about my husband.

MRS. SLIDELL
He had better brought an army with him. And we better find that place you were talking about.

ABIGAIL
We’ll need both of those Hummers.

They emerge from their dark hiding place and run down to the vehicles in a low crouch. Abigail reaches hers first, enters and holds up keys in triumph.

MRS. SLIDELL
Hot damn. Mine too!

ABIGAIL
Follow me then, and stop when I do.

EXT GREENSPOT IN A ROCKY AREA
Haze already rises from the rocks baking in the morning sun. The stream bed runs straight ahead and disappears in a cleft in the rocky hillside, a cleft surrounded with green vegetation. Parked on the stream bed is a van – its back doors open and a Confederate flag decal decorating the back window.

Ben and Riley converge on it stealthily. Ben signals that the coast is clear; and Riley returns the same signal for his side. Ben eyes widen when he sees the contents.

He pulls out a miner’s helmet complete with a light. He grabs another for Riley.

RILEY
Any bat repellent? There’s sure to be bats.

BEN
(packing a satchel of goodies)
I’d settle for rebel repellent.

IN THE CLEFT
A KGC SCOUT emerges from a pit at the base of the cleft and turns to help his COMPANION.

SCOUT ONE
Another dead end.

SCOUT TWO
Still, mark it down for the scuba team to check out.

They pass from sight and the boys drop down into the pit.

INT GROTTO LIKE DEPRESSION
One hand on the wall, Ben comes to the end of his circuit of the chamber, where an entrance has been blocked by rubble.

BEN
No passage anywhere at this level.

And Riley looks up from a pool of water that continually fills but does not rise. Riley stands and peers down into the depths of the pool.

RILEY
Do you think they tried it?

BEN
They didn’t appear wet.
(giving him a fierce grin)
So, how do you want to do this?

RILEY
By remote control.

BEN
Here!

He passes him the satchel, removing first a coil of rope, pays it out and ties one end around his waist and then gives Riley the other.

BEN (CONT’D)
Current looks strong. A quick trip outbound, but I’ll need your help coming back. Wait for a double tug.

Ben steps down into the water and with his second step drops out of sight.

RILEY
Ben!!!

Ben bobs to the surface, sputtering water.

BEN
It’s deep, but that’s good.

He takes a deep breath and dives.

UNDERWATER TUNNEL
As he travels from the grotto the light dims. He surfaces and discovers an air pocket at the top of the tunnel. And soon reaches the end of the rope. Ahead he can see a ledge. He also hears the sound of wind whistling and water falling.

He tugs the line twice, takes a gulp of air, and kicks off for his trip back.

THE GROTTO
Ben parts the water and crawls up and out with Riley’s help.

BEN
Tricky, but doable. You up for a challenge?

RILEY
Is there a way without getting wet?

BEN
Getting wet is the least of our worries. The passage continues, but there’s also a water fall.

RILEY
You’re dragging me down that tunnel, and then over a cliff?

BEN
In a pinch, it may be the quickest way. And I’m feeling in a pinch.

RILEY
Understood.

With the rope tied between them, first Ben then Riley enter the cold water.

[next pt 45]

Rebel Treasure thirty ninth post

Rebel Treasure thirty ninth post

EXT NEW MEXICAN DESERT – DAY
Riding above the haze of heat waves, a train with a dozen cars steams along the razor straight tracks, the only objects in the flat as a tortilla expanse. Two engines, one pulling the other pushing, propel the cars forward towards a distant mountain range.

AN ENCAMPMENT
Straddles the tracks, tents and piles of boxes laid out in neat rows, and to one side a newly constructed water tower. OVERSEERS, armed with bullwhips, watch over work parties of MEXICAN INDIANS that are unloading another train parked on a siding. With a BLAST from its steam whistle the two engine train slides to a stop near the water tower.

Louis emerges from a tent chewing on a cheroot. Seeing the train he reaches back in for his gun-belt, from which dangles his Bowie knife. He sees Lon in the cab of the first engine and waves.

LOUIS
Lon!

Lon dismounts from the cab as Louis walks up. He remains mute and unresponsive. Louis picks up on his attitude.

LOUIS (CONT’D)
Oh, so it’s that way, is it, Commander?

He salutes and Lon returns it.

LON
Tell me lieutenant, is everything shipshape here?

LOUIS
Aye, sir. As soon as you’ve passed we’re sending that train –
(points to the one on the siding)
back down the line and take up the tracks.

LON
Excellent.

LOUIS
And sir, may I see your manifest?

Lon hesitates briefly, then fishes the document from his inside coat pocket and passes it to Louis.

LOUIS (CONT’D)
(scanning the paper)
The last of the Mexican silver?

LON
Aye. See for yourself.

LOUIS
All right, I will. I’ll ride in the back.

CANYONS OF NEW MEXICO – DAY
Sunlight dapples the hilltops but does not penetrate down into the arroyo where the treasure train rolls alongside of a river that snakes its way at the bottom of the canyon.

POV OF THE ENGINEER
Ahead the twilight of the canyon gives way to sunshine. The sand under the tracks sparkles golden as it curves into a massive opening in a rock wall.

E/I ANTE-CHAMBER TO A CAVERN
The treasure train slows as it enters the cavern. Fanning out from the mainline are many branch tracks, and on them rest hundreds upon hundreds of boxcars, giving the whole area the appearance of a busy big city railyard. Work parties of blacks and Indians march along the side of the tracks under the watchful gaze of whip bearing overseers.

The track runs forward and hugs the wall passing by massive stalactites and stalagmites.

A STATION MASTER runs out of his depot, waving a lantern to flag them down. Lon steps down from the cab before it comes to a stop.

LON
What’s the problem, Carl?

STATION MASTER
The new circuit is finished, Commander. You won’t have to back out from the “bank” this time. Give us a moment to switch the tracks.

The station master seizes the rail switch and signals for his ASSISTANT to trip the other down the way. Jesse James appears from nowhere.

JESSE
Mind if I join you, Lon?

LON
Come on ahead, you can help me check off the list.

The treasure train veers off onto the branch line and puffs up a gentle grade and into the mouth of another cave whose lower stalagmites have been broken out, but whose “upper teeth” have been left intact, lending the whole the appearance of the maw of a vicious beast.

UNLOADING AREA
A fire brigade of WORKERS pass along box after box of Mexican silver from the parked treasure train. We follow the last of the boxes to the head of the line and find Lon checking the list under the vigilant gaze of Jesse. Two workers pry open the boxes with crow bars, then MOSES GRANT, a giant black man pours the contents of each one down a chute in the floor.

One of the workers lingers to peer down the shaft after the contents of the last box are committed to it.

JESSE
Don’t even think about it.

Their work done, Jesse and the OVERSEERS begin to collect the workers together and march them out. Lon lingers behind with Moses.

LON
How are Sissy and the twins?

MOSES
(grinning)
They be fine, mighty fine.

LON
Up to a little journey?

MOSES
Is it now? Tonight?

LON
Moses you are leading your people out of here. Tonight we execute the plan. Meanwhile, I’ve got one more thing to do.

[next pt 40]